Happiness, Like Water

Chinelo Okparanta

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Happiness, Like Water

Happiness Like Water Astonishing Okparanta s narrators render their stories with such strength and intimacy such lucidity and composure that in each and every case the truths of their lives detonate deep inside the read

  • Title: Happiness, Like Water
  • Author: Chinelo Okparanta
  • ISBN: 9780544003453
  • Page: 458
  • Format: Paperback
  • Astonishing Okparanta s narrators render their stories with such strength and intimacy, such lucidity and composure, that in each and every case the truths of their lives detonate deep inside the reader s heart, with the power and force of revelation Paul HardingHere are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hop Astonishing Okparanta s narrators render their stories with such strength and intimacy, such lucidity and composure, that in each and every case the truths of their lives detonate deep inside the reader s heart, with the power and force of revelation Paul HardingHere are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, the burden and strength of love Here are characters faced with dangerous decisions, children slick with oil from the river, a woman in love with another despite the penalties Here is a world marked by electricity outages, lush landscapes, folktales, buses that break down and never start up again Here is a portrait of Nigerians that is surprising, shocking, heartrending, loving, and across social strata, dealing in every kind of change Here are stories filled with language to make your eyes pause and your throat catch Happiness, Like Water introduces a true talent, a young writer with a beautiful heart and a capacious imagination Intricate, graceful prose propels Okparanta s profoundly moving and illuminating book I devoured these stories and immediately wanted This is an arrival NoViolet Bulawayo Okparanta s prose is tender, beautiful and evocative These powerful stories of contemporary Nigeria are told with compassion and a certain sense of humor What a remarkable new talent Chika Unigwe A haunting and startlingly original collection of short stories about the lives of Nigerians both at home and in America Happiness, Like Water is a deeply affecting literary debut, the work of a sure and gifted new writer Julie Otsuka

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      Published :2018-08-13T21:55:13+00:00

    One thought on “Happiness, Like Water

    1. Cheryl on said:

      When you're a child growing up in West Africa who has done something wrong and must be reprimanded, or say you need some advice, it's possible that your mother or father starts the lecture with a story, and in this story, the characters somehow embody your predicament. When you're an adult living in America and your career-driven African father calls to give you advice, it often starts with a parable or short story; and even a text can turn into flash fiction. Reading these stories from Okparant [...]

    2. Aubrey on said:

      4.9/5Days later, when the scabs start to form, I imagine peeling them off like the hard shell of a velvet tamarind. Eno's flesh underneath the scabs is the reddish-yellow of the tamarind's pulp, not quite the yellow of a ripe pawpaw peel. And even if I know that this scabby fairness of hers is borne of injury, a temporary fairness of skinless flesh, patchy, and ugly in its patchiness, I think how close she has come to having skin like Onyechi's, and I feel something like envy, because what she h [...]

    3. Jill on said:

      Let’s start out by saying that if you’re looking for stories about happiness, you won’t find them in this short story collection. The author tips her hand in the titled quote: “Happiness is like water…We’re always trying to grab onto it, but it’s always slipping between our fingers.”These are stories where urgent needs of the characters are often unmet and where emotional survival is often precarious. These are also uniquely Nigerian stories; as readers, we get to see the culture [...]

    4. Beverly on said:

      This was a 3.5 rating for me but rounded up because of the beauty of the words.If Okparanta’s exquisitely written debut short story collection has a theme – it is about mothers and how their hopes and dreams affect their daughters struggle for their own hope and dreams. I found the stories to be graceful and profound and breathtaking in the fluidity of the language to evoke emotions with quiet subtly. In “Fairness”, the daughter is constantly reminded of her dark skin while the lighter s [...]

    5. Nakia on said:

      This book made me love short stories again. Eloquent and quiet but riveting and stirring. I want to read so much more from Chinelo.

    6. Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship on said:

      A compelling, well-written collection of stories about unhappy people. This is Okparanta’s first book, and she’s certainly an author to watch.This book contains 10 bite-sized (average length 20 pages) short stories starring contemporary Nigerian women, who struggle with family pressures, societal expectations and unhealthy relationships. The word that comes to mind when thinking about the subject matter is brave; the stories are unabashedly feminist, not in an easy sort of way but in their u [...]

    7. Annabeth Leong on said:

      There's something hard to express about what it looks like when an author hits every emotional note exactly right, but this collection is one of the best examples I've come across. There's a lot of range here, too—hope, love, rebirth, disappointment, escape or the lack of it, leaving home, diaspora, trauma, queerness, family, the desire for family, cultural clash, sickness, healing or the desire for itI think the stories dealing with abuse hit me the hardest because they're some of the truest [...]

    8. Stian on said:

      'Happiness is like water,' she says. 'We're always trying to grab onto it, but it's always slipping between our fingers.' (p. 144)The elusive nature of happiness is a recurring theme in this collection of debut stories by Nigerian Chinelo Okparanta. The stories are thoroughly sad, and deal with topics that are uncomfortable to read about: rape, forced marriages, domestic violence, "illegal" feelings, jealousy, cheating, identity crises, and so on. It's easy to opt to ignore these things and see [...]

    9. Friederike Knabe on said:

      Chinelo Okparanta came to my attention after her story, America, was a finalist for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing. It tells the touching story of a very special friendship between two young women that challenges Nigerian traditions and social conventions America has been published as one of ten stories in this, her first collection, Happiness, like Water. Okparanta is without a doubt becoming a promising representative of the new generation of Nigerian and African writers who are givi [...]

    10. Jean on said:

      Okparanta's short stories blew me away. Each of the ten stories relates an issue in the life of a female protagonist. Her writing is so passionate that in each story, I actually felt what the character appeared to be feeling. The book looks at mother/daughter relationships, physical and mental abuse, homosexual relationships, and infidelity. Okparanta, gives great incite into Nigerian women. Although I must admit that these issues are every cultures issues. Wonderful, wonderful read.

    11. CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian on said:

      It’s perhaps best to begin with the fact that happiness you won’t find much in Chinelo Okparanta’s short story collection Happiness, Like Water. After all, as one character points out, happiness is like water if “we’re always trying to grab onto it, but it’s always slipping through our fingers.” What you will find, however, are some tenderly written stories about Nigerian women, sometimes in the US or in Nigeria, grappling with the demands made of them in a racist, sexist, and homo [...]

    12. David on said:

      Individually, each of these stories is excellent, as good as Adichie or Petina Gappah, but as a collection I found they lacked variety - too many variations on the same themes with too similar narrators. In that way it reminds me a little of Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders which also featured several beautifully written but rather sameish stories. Still, I very much look forward to the novel that the author bio says she is currently writing.

    13. Bonnie Brody on said:

      Chinelo Okparanta has written a stellar debut book of short stories. It is easy to see why Granta has named her one of 'six New Voices for 2012'. This book is peopled with Nigerians who yearn for something that they do not have and are sometimes afraid to go after what they want. Some of the characters reside in Nigeria and others are in the United States, attempting to make new lives for themselves. Each of the stories stand alone except for one that is linked to a second story.'On Ohaeto Stree [...]

    14. Michael on said:

      "I stare at the drifting leaves, allow myself to be hypnotized by them, but it's a melancholic sort of hypnosis, the kind where you find yourself reliving all the things you wish you never had to live at all."This is a wonderful collection of short stories by Chinelo Okparanta, author of the novel Under the Udala Trees. Saying they are wonderful does not mean they make you feel wonderful. They are a wonderful exploration of character, with poetic and illuminating descriptions and imagery, with s [...]

    15. Leslie Reese on said:

      Ten female-centered stories written in the way with which Ifeinwu---one of Okparanta’s characters---cleans vegetable leaves for a salad: soaked and rinsed carefully, one by one. Her simple, unadorned language seems benign until, gathered en masse, lands like a brick tossed slow-motion to the gut. Each story---even when not told in her own voice---features a girl, a woman (daughter Uchenna; Grace, a student; “Mama”; new wife Chinwe; Gloria Oke’s lover; barren Nneoma) whose history, whose [...]

    16. ❤️Alotta Warmheart❤️ on said:

      "Happiness is like water, we are always trying to grab onto it, but it's always slipping between our fingersd my fingers are thin, with lots of gaps in between." Absolutely loved this book. Chinelo is a writing goddess. The choice of topics/themes in these short stories shows she isn't scared of writing about stuff many people would be uncomfortable with. She has a way of putting one word in front of another and just make you enjoy the whole reading journey. For someone that has been reading ave [...]

    17. Roger Brunyate on said:

      Women Are Women, EverywhereThree facts about the cover: it begins with the word "Happiness"; it has a vaguely African design; and on the back it has the fresh, even eager face of its Nigerian author, Chinelo Okparanta. Two of these things are misleading, but constructively so; the third is absolutely true."Happiness is like water," one of Okparanta's characters says; "we're always trying to grab onto it, but it's always slipping between our fingers." There is at least a glimmer of happiness in t [...]

    18. kelly on said:

      Man, this woman can writeAs much as I love short stories, short story collections are always hit or miss. You may find one or a few good stories amongst the pack, or several decent offerings. Very rarely are ALL of the stories in a collection each a strong, workable a piece of art. This book of stories is one of the few exceptions."Happiness, Like Water" has 10 short stories, mostly featuring Nigerian woman who are dealing with contemporary issues such as unhealthy relationships, homosexuality, [...]

    19. Izzy on said:

      The best collection of stories I’ve read in a while. “Runs Girl” is very touching. “Story, Story!” is intense and well-crafted. A must read! “Tumors and Butterflies” is serious but also has a bit of dark comedy in it, as far as the family dynamics go. Basically, every story in the collection has something about it that sticks out and lingers in my mind. There are thematic connections among the stories, which I liked. The thematic links made the collection feel unified, but not in a [...]

    20. Shannon on said:

      I was expecting something else from this book. I don't know. I guess. happiness The stories are liberating, but several of these stories are also tragic. They illustrate what can happen when we (women) succumb to external pressure or expectations. This is demonstrated with overt cultural connotations , but I think the stories are universal. "Happiness, Like Water" is a suspenseful collection of short stories. But several of them end abruptly, which is one of the reasons I steer clear of short st [...]

    21. Cheyenne Blue on said:

      Simply beautiful.The happiness in these stories is often the fleeting kind, glimpses of what might be, and the female protagonists aren't always that strong, but ahhh, the writing. The writing. These are sparse and beautiful, often open-ended, often disconcerting, sometimes sad. Set in Nigeria and the United States, these stories are the cracks in someone's life, prized open by Okparanta's words.It's hard to pick favorites. But "Wahala", "Grace" and "Tumors and Butterflies" stand out.Pure magic. [...]

    22. Ronna on said:

      I loved this book. Each short story had a familiar yet slightly different point of view. It was as if the writer somehow relived different moments or events in a variety of ways, but never over working them, never making it feel over done. I feel as if I have gotten to know a variety of characters, but more so, various faces of the author herself. These are stories I hadn't heard before, but themes familiar to all of us. Just so well written, they definitely leave me wanting to read more of her

    23. Patricia on said:

      Beautifully written stories - I looked forward to each new one as I went through the book. Although the author's Nigerian background informs the settings and culture of her writing, in the end, these are poignant tales about relationships in families - sometimes quite difficult ones - that resonated with me.

    24. Kirsten on said:

      This is an amazing collection of stories by a Nigerian (or Nigerian-American) author. They all have strong female characters. Some are in non-traditional roles or just surviving traditional roles. Some of the stories are tragic but are all emotional. I hope the author writes more!

    25. Len Joy on said:

      This is a great collection. The writing is simple and beautiful and powerful. I felt like the author was in the room telling me a story. The stories are universal, but they also taught me something about a culture and a country that I didn't know much about.

    26. Monica on said:

      Happiness is like water,’ she says. ‘We’re always trying to grab onto it, but it’s always slipping between our fingers.Do not be fooled by the title. This collection of stories has very little to do with happiness or even the pursuit of happiness. These stories are actually quite dour with a few moments of happiness drowned by the ongoing persistence of life and surviving. Dour does not mean bad. In fact this is a collection of moving and emotional stories that are far more rooted in rea [...]

    27. Deera on said:

      The same gut-wrenching prose from UNDER THE UDALA TREES, but this time in a collection of short stories. The stories, except two, are unconnected. Each story centers around a woman who is grappling with pain that is indescribable. Okparanta is a genius and is now on my autobuy list.

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